I wrote this post five years ago on a different site, but re-reading during the Covid_19 pandemic has me realizing that amidst what seems like EVERYTHING in the world changing, a few things remain. Enjoy my thoughts from half a decade ago!
Here are the facts:
Our sweet Norah is just four days shy of turning....ahem...seven.
I cannot speak of it with dry eyes.
Jason has reminded me several times that she's turning seven, not getting married and moving to the other side of the world.
However, she's over halfway to being a teenager so I will cry if I want to.
Lists for Santa are being made (and changed) with regularity.
I'm hosting Thanksgiving at my house for around 50 people.
We've all had colds and a few of the kids are still in the thick of it.
It was a loooooooong, exhausting week.
I went four days without a shower....issues with the water pressure in the new house.
All I really wanted to do was curl up on the couch and have movie night with our tribe.
There was just one glitch...we had signed up to help pack a gazillion bags of food for the hungry and homeless ALL the way up in St. Paul.
We also had our babysitter cancel at the last minute.
It was the perfect opportunity to call it quits.
We tried, Lord...the babysitter can't make it. La te da and tra la la.
I considered it.
But I also considered how our kids would spend the next 5 weeks.
me, me me....
I love to lavish my babies with their hearts' desires.
It is such a blessing to show them how much I adore them. But that's only half the story I want them to live.
The other half is hard work and selflessness and what it looks like to be kind and beautiful. I want these kids to know that the best part of life starts and ends with what we give away.
Jason and I know that many people can show them this and we pray that they'll get dozens of good models in their futures, but it is our job and our joy to be the ones who model it most in their lives. This isn't going to happen without intention.
Instead of throwing in the towel, we scrambled and found a babysitter.
We got our attitudes in check, bundled up and headed out.
45 minutes of driving and singing Christmas carols and we were in the mood to do some SERIOUS good.
We started with prayer and I felt my remaining frustrations melt away.
The Union Gospel Mission always start by thanking Jesus for the command and the opportunity to love...this place has my heart.
They get it.
I will never stop coming here.
We got assigned to 5 pound bags of potatoes and I'll just go ahead and boast about the fact that our kids ROCKED the job.
Tiny Cara in a massive bag of potatoes...I thought I might lose her in there!
She crawled right in and tossed potatoes over her shoulder to me like she had been doing it all her life.
These little worker bees...they just kept plugging along.
We can do hard things.
We can fill 400 bags of food when we're not feeling 100%.
We can sacrifice our comfort to rally for people who really need it.
At the end of the night we had packed enough food to feed 10,000 people.
TEN THOUSAND. That's significant. I don't know what's more astounding - the fact that there are that many people hurting just down the road OR the fact that it took a handful of people and a few hours to do something about it.
Most of the time we're a "do hard work and help people with no expectation of rewards" kind of a household.
However, when momma and daddy are looking at a long night of figuring out the water situation at the house and need a cup of coffee to get us through, we make exceptions and reward good efforts with hot chocolate.
After we tucked them all tuckered out into warm beds and thanked the Good Lord for the roof over our heads and the food in our pantry, Jason and I agreed it was worth it.
the babysitter....small things, really
Let's face it.
Giving is hard. This is always going to be true.
Real treasure isn't easy to obtain. No one is just leaving thousands of dollars laying around. We have to work for things that are WORTH SOMETHING.
At the end of the day, one look at our checking account and our calendar will tell us what we value.
It doesn't take much effort to CLEARLY see what we treasure.
it is our home?
I'm so guilty of letting my schedule and my finances be driven by things...stuff....pretty, glittery, temporary objects.
A healthy reset includes asking: Where am I spending my time? My money?
I can tell you that it takes me about 2 minutes to realize how selfish I can be.
I live with such abundance. I won't feel guilty about that, but I also cannot deny the fact that there are 10,000 people within an hour's drive of my house that are hungry, cold and homeless. These are people that I have the resources and energy to help. In time, I will have to answer to Jesus as to how well I listened to His very clear instructions about taking care of them.
When I get on the other side of myself, I realize 100% of the time that giving is great fun and not NEARLY as impossible as I dramatize it to be.
Jesus modeled it.
I will provide for you.
You share with each other.
Some days you will have extra.
Some days you will need help.
If you obey what I say, everyone wins.
The world will do a very good job of teaching my kids about stuff, showing them what money can buy and giving them a million reasons why they need it all. These kids will develop a desire for things and technology and vacations and clothes and music and opportunities without my help. There will be nothing wrong with them desiring good, beautiful things.
However, I'm the one with the power to show them that there is more. I get the privilege of pointing out that those things alone are pretty dim. My responsibility is to teach them that we are blessed SO THAT we can hold it all with an open hand. I get to watch them loosen their grip on this world and find out that our great, great treasure is the opportunity to give our lives and our love away.